Millefiori

DEFINITION

From the Italian, meaning "a thousand flowers," millefiori are glass rods, typically one foot in length, each with a diameter of about 3 millimeters. From the outside, they appear to be simple glass canes. But when seen in cross-section, each piece reveals a multicolored radial design, each looking much the same along the cane's length. Making millefiori requires great craftsmanship, because each color comes from a different mineral, and has its own melting point. Since every rod is a composition of several colors, it's important that the artisan controls the various components' temperatures in order to fuse the specific colors in each pattern. The most reknowned producers of millefiori are the glassmakers at Murano ? an island near Venice. There, millefiori are made in order to use them in the production of "murrina" ? objects such as beads and paperweights, as made at Murano for more than 700 years.Also see kaleidoscope.

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